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Santa Claus Lane Beach

Santa Barbara, California, United States


On summer days and weekends, there is a lively scene at Santa Claus Lane Beach. Kids swim to their heart's content. People bodyboard and surf. The waves are sometimes the best around, especially for longboarders and bodyboarders. The train goes by right next to the beach, so be careful with little kids. It's fun to wave at the passengers zooming by. Bring a sun umbrella because there is no shade. Santa Claus Lane Beach has some of the cleanest water in Santa Barbara, so you can splash about and dive around without worries. Most of the year it's too cold to swim without a wetsuit, but on hot days you can brave it without. The initial entry can be cold but after that it'll just feel refreshing in the blazing Santa Barbara sun. I've noticed that the water at this beach is warmer (though still very cold) than some of the other Santa Barbara beaches, so enjoy! Also, the sand is nicer here (whiter, and less hard-packed) than at many of the other Santa Barbara beaches, and there are less sandflies.
The many people here make for a fun scene. There are colorful sun umbrellas all the way down the beach, and sand castles to enjoy. Lovers write their initials in the sand. Last time I was there two guys dug a huge hole in the sand, like a space ship had landed.
All around you there is beauty at this beach. The Santa Ynez mountains are closer to the shore than they are in Santa Barbara, making for a stunning backdrop. To the west of the beach you see red cliffs. On the east end stands the Isham Poolhouse, like a white castle in Morocco, designed by architect George Washington Smith. It inspires the happy sand castle builders on the beach. If you walk up to the house, you can't see much because of the large sea wall in front, but the middle-eastern spire that stretches to the sky is lovely. During low tide, the beach is magical with sand bars and silvery sparkling water.
After-swim appetites can be satisfied just down the end of Santa Claus Lane at Padaro Beach Grill, where you can sit outside at picnic tables in a big yard and your kids can play in a massive sandbox! I highly recommend this cafe for the glorious seaside atmosphere! Another place to eat is The Garden Market, a cafe with outdoor area where there are tons of plant pots and bird baths.
For a playground nearby, check out El Carro Park with its four large slides, grassy knolls, swings, and awe-inspiring mountain views. For panoramic views over Santa Claus Lane Beach, drive the lovely drive up the mountainside to Toro Canyon Park. For a delightful seaside town full of Victorian Houses turned cafes, check out Summerland.

Photo Gallery

The red cliffs to the west of Santa Claus Lane Beach, and a perfect wave!

This guy came prepared with lots of boards!

A longboarder leaves after a great day in the waves! Note in the background the Moroccan-style Isham Poolhouse, designed by architect George Washington Smith.

Two surfers make their way to the waves.

A giant hole two guys dug in the sand!

The train zooms by!

No school! Nothing better than a summer day at Santa Claus Lane beach!

Frisbee? Bodyboarding? So much to do, so little time!

The far east end of Santa Claus Lane Beach- the Isham Poolhouse.

Details of a spire on the Isham Poolhouse- you can't see much of the house because of the large seawall that fronts the property.

The sea wall at the far east end of Santa Claus Lane Beach.

A surfer catches a ride on a blissful November day at Santa Claus Lane Beach.

Silvery low tide and sand bars on a pleasant January day at Santa Claus Lane beach.

The Garden Market Cafe- a bit too many birds for me but some people like this outdoor cafe.


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Santa Claus Lane Beach is located at Santa Claus Lane, Carpinteria CA 93013.
From Highway 101 southbound exit at Santa Claus Lane. The exit leads straight onto Santa Claus Lane, where you can park along the street. Walk across the train tracks (be careful!) to get to the sand.
From Highway 101 northbound exit at Padaro Ln/Santa Claus Ln and turn left. Turn left on Santa Claus Ln, where you can park along the street. Walk across the train tracks (be careful!) to get to the sand.
Padaro Beach Grill, 3765 Santa Claus Lane, Carpinteria CA 93013, call (805) 566-9800.
The Garden Market Cafe, 3811 Santa Claus Lane, Carpinteria, call (805) 745-5505.
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